French actress Berenice Bejo (C) poses for photographers as she arrives at Elie Saab's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 fashion show. Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau
French actress Berenice Bejo (C) poses for photographers as she arrives at Elie Saab's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 fashion show. Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau
Models present creations by Lebanese designer Elie Saab.  Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau
Models present creations by Lebanese designer Elie Saab. Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau
Models present creations by Lebanese designer Elie Saab at his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 fashion show. Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau
Models present creations by Lebanese designer Elie Saab at his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 fashion show. Picture: Reuters/Charles Platiau

Paris - Which one to choose for the red carpet? All eyes were on Oscar contender Berenice Bejo, co-star of the French silent movie “The Artist”, as she sat front row at Elie Saab's haute couture show on Wednesday.

For the final day of the Paris shows, the Lebanese designer - a favourite of the red-carpet crowd - sent out a roll-call of evanescent gowns fit for an “empress”, all in shimmering, semi-sheer layers of white and gentle pastels.

A romantic, old-fashioned aesthetic ran through the collection, whose floor-sweeping gowns and babydoll dresses - often with high necklines and long sleeves - were embroidered head to toe with tiny flowers and sparkling sequins.

Asked after the show if she was on the lookout for a dress to wear down the Oscar red carpet - and if she would be wearing Saab - Bejo replied only with a smile, but she praised the collection as “wearable”.

“It doesn't look like fancy dress,” said the French actress, in a fuschia pink dress and black silk heels, hair swept into a ponytail. “It's beautiful. I loved the colours, it's fluid and feminine,” she said.

Saab explained backstage that he “went for slightly acid pastels to create a fairytale effect, for a modern empress”.

The designer - who has dressed Bejo on a number of occasions - wished her good luck for the Oscars, admitting that for him the awards were something of a “speciality”.

The Artist earned 10 nods on Tuesday for Hollywood's top awards, outdone only by Martin Scorsese's lavish 3D adventure Hugo”with 11.

Nominated in the best supporting actress category for her role in the movie, Bejo is up against Melissa McCarthy, who starred in Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs and both Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer for The Help.

The French film is a tribute to the silent movie era in which a non-talking star - played by Jean Dujardin, also up for an Oscar - battles to save his career after the arrival of the “talkies”. - Sapa-AFP